Eskom November 09 www. bus- ex. com 21 connection South Africa's state- owned utility company Eskom has been pulling out all the stops to keep up with the country's rapidly expanding demand for electricity. Gay Sutton reviews the company's ambitious construction programme generated across the whole of Africa. In recent years, the company has been pulling out all the stops to increase its power generation capacity and to improve the nation's distribution infrastructure in order to live up to the Government's aim of supplying all homes with electricity. An ambitious programme of construction was initiated some four years ago, with the aim of delivering more than 14,600 megawatts of additional power by 2017, and to double the current capacity by 2028. The first phase of the programme includes the construction of three new power stations utilising the latest technology. The first of these has been named Medupi, which means ' rain that soaks parched lands, giving economic relief'. Not only will it be Eskom's first new coal- fired power station S outh Africa has gone through a period of transformation over the past 15 years. Incorporation of the black community into the powerhouse of business, strong economic growth, rapid industrialisation and an improvement in living standards have all imposed strains on the country's existing infrastructure. Demand for power in South Africa, particularly in recent years, has been growing at a frightening rate. And in spite of the steps taken to increase capacity, demand outstripped capacity last year and blackouts became a fact of life around the country. Power generation and distribution company Eskom, which was established way back in 1923, supplies approximately 95 per cent of South Africa's electricity- which equates to around 45 per cent of the electricity
Equinox Minerals November 09 www. bus- ex. com 45 modern, highly qualified miner wants to retain as many creature comforts as possible. It's no longer acceptable just to have a bed somewhere in which to crash. Miners expect to have recreational and leisure facilities to counter the stresses and strains of their high- risk occupations. Lumwana has a labouring force of over 2,000 which has to be housed and taken care of, so it's not surprising that it now has the makings of a new town to service the mine. What is surprising, though, are the lengths to which Equinox has gone in order to create a desirable place in which to live. Construction camps are usually basic affairs with rows of dormitories laid out in regimental fashion. More often than not, responsibility for the design and construction of the village is handed over to someone in the engineering department. Bucking this practice, Equinox has engaged South Africa- based construction giant Group Five to build the township. Group Five has in turn enlisted high profile urban architects GAPP to design a community that will not only house the mine's workers but also have the capacity of growing into a self sufficient town, able to flourish without dependency on the mine. Before committing pen to paper, designers analysed what makes one community more attractive than another. Elements such as the way public space is arranged and used, how the community is integrated into the surrounding countryside, the proximity of houses and pathways and strategies for dealing with traffic were all considered. GAPP used the beautiful South African university city of Stellenbosch as inspiration, with planning principles mirroring those in Stellenbosch being established. As such, the 500 dwellings already built form the core of the community, where courtyards between buildings form public spaces and opportunity for relaxation while the internal courtyards of buildings provide safe parking. Equinox is also aware that a full stomach leads to contentment. Catering has been outsourced to All Terrain Services, which serves around 4,000 meals a day- a huge logistical challenge as 90 per cent of all food has to come from at least 300 kilometres away. But that's the challenge of modern day mining in remote corners of the world. Nothing comes easy, as the five predecessors to Equinox know full well. - Editorial research by Richard Halfhide was $ 0.61 per pound. As little as five years ago, the price was flat at around $ 1.50 and then shot up to $ 4.00 per pound in 2008, largely fuelled by rapid urbanisation in China. Not surprisingly, prices plummeted 12 months ago but have recovered well and are currently around $ 3 per pound. With operating costs of between $ 1.35 and $ 1.50 per pound, Equinox is very bullish about prospects and sees itself eventually as one of the world's top 20 producers. The plant was commissioned and went on line at the back end of last year; Equinox estimates that in 2009- the first full year- it will produce 110,000 tonnes of copper metal in concentrate. Eventually, though, output for the first six years is expected to average 172,000 tonnes per annum over an operational mine life of at least 37 years. There are a number of firsts associated with this mine. For example, while the sulphide ore is being processed on site by conventional crushing, grinding and flotation to produce copper concentrates, the 20 million tonnes per annum ore is being crushed in what's believed to be the largest ball mill in the world. In fact, supplier FLSmidth Minerals also provides much of the processing equipment plus a contract to service the plant long- term. Diesel is an expensive commodity in land- locked areas many hundreds of miles from any coastline. Normally, vehicles used on open pit mining can consume hundreds of litres an hour- a major obstacle to the plant's viability. So Equinox enlisted Siemens and opted for a 27- strong fleet of 240 tonne capacity diesel- electric drive hybrid haulage trucks, as well as seven 518 tonne diesel and electric loaders. The mining fleet utilises ' trolley assist', whereby the trucks switch from diesel operation to grid electricity as they make the run up the ramp from the pit to the ore and waste dumps, providing substantial fuel and operational cost savings. Although there are a handful of other mines around the world that operate with similar vehicles, Lumwana is the only one that was originally conceived in this way and the only one to continue operation throughout the wet season- of which Zambia endures six months! As is the case in many third world countries, Lumwana happens to find itself in extremely remote territory. Whereas once accommodation was rough and ready, the " The mining fleet utilises ' trolley assist', whereby the trucks switch from diesel operation to grid electricity as they make the run up the ramp from the pit to the ore and waste dumps, providing substantial fuel and operational cost savings"